Matthew Nielsen, a tenth-grade student at Wooster High School, was recently selected to compete on U.S. Figure Skating Team USA. As a member of Team USA, Matthew will travel to Zagreb, Croatia, for his first international assignment from Oct. 24 to 28.
Matthew, who is 15-years-old, was selected by the U.S. Figure Skating International Committee, the International Committee Management Subcommittee and/or the International Skating Union (ISU) to represent the United States at ISU events. The events may include, but are not limited to, spring internationals, Junior Grand Prixs, Senior Grand Prixs, Senior B internationals, ISU championships (Four Continents Championships, World Junior Championships, World Championships, World Team Trophy) and the Olympic Winter Games.
In addition, Team USA consists of the primary coaches, secondary coaches, judges, team leaders and medical personnel selected to represent the United States at the competitions mentioned above. Matthew will travel with his private coach, Christian Martin, who has trained Matthew since he was six years old.
“This has been a dream and goal of Matthew’s for quite some time, and we are very proud of his achievement,” said Christine Nielsen, Matthew’s mother. “As parents, we could not be more excited for him and look forward to cheering him on as he competes for Team USA over the next few years.”
While attending international assignments, team members are recognized as ambassadors for U.S. Figure Skating and the United States of America. Not only is it an honor to be selected, but it is also an opportunity for team members to gain valuable experiences on an international stage.
Matthew was selected for Team USA as a result of his performances at various competitions in 2017 and 2018. On Team USA, Matthew will have a short program, which is a tango to the song “El Tango De Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge, and a free skate to a remake of the Queen song “Who Wants to Live Forever” by The Tenors.
“This year, Matthew has had a fantastic competitive season,” said Christine. “After winning gold, he was identified as a high-performing athlete based on the jumps that he did during a competition in Colorado earlier this year. This led to him being invited to a camp at the Olympic Training Center, which was the first of four training camps he participated in over the summer. ”
Matthew also won gold in competitions in the 2018 Skate Detroit championships, which took place in July, and in the 2018 North American Series in Toronto, Canada, which took place in August. He was then invited to skate at the 2018 U.S. Novice and Junior Challenge Skate in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he won silver.
Following these competitions, Christine said the committee members had taken notice of Matthew consistently landing his jumps. He is also one of the few skaters at the novice level who can land a triple-triple-combo, which was one of the abilities that qualified him for the Olympic Training Center’s camp.
To reach this level, Matthew practices up to 15 hours per week on the ice at the Winterhurst Figure Skating Club in Lakewood, the Strongsville Skating Club and the Gilmour Academy Ice Arena.
“We are super excited to follow and support Matthew’s dream of competing in the 2022 Olympics,said Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs. We are all so incredibly proud of him and wish him the very best as he competes internationally.”